Damage to Cathedral of Learning downgraded

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University of Pittsburgh police charged a man earlier this week with two felonies for causing what was thought to be tens of thousands in damage inside the Cathedral of Learning -- but Pitt now says the actual cost for repairs was just $365.

"The cost for cleanup was $365. We were fortunate to get to it early, allowing us to clean it, rather than replacing the tiles as was initially feared," Pitt spokesman John Fedele wrote in an email.

The original damage estimate of between $65,000 and $100,000 came from Facilities Management, according to the criminal complaint.

Pitt officials did not respond to requests to clarify exactly why the damage was so sharply downgraded.

The cost differential could be crucial for Danial Mohammad Khan-Yousufzai, 21, because the felony charges against him are contingent on the damage exceeding $5,000.

"There always needs to be some correlation with the value of the underlying charge," said defense attorney Phil DiLucente, who does not represent Mr. Khan-Yousufzai. "The whole purpose of having the higher grading scale is so that there is a correlation to the actual offense, and what has actually been destroyed."

But Mr. DiLucente said Mr. Khan-Yousufzai will have to wait until his preliminary hearing -- which was continued until May 16 -- to find out if the charges will be withdrawn or downgraded.

Mr. Khan-Yousufzai spray painted the letters "WRC" in the common area of the Cathedral, according to Pitt police. The letters measured 12 feet by 4 1/2-feet.

"WRC" is an acronym that stands for the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent monitoring organization that conducts investigations in factories where university-licensed apparel is manufactured.

Members of the Pitt Chapter of Americans for Informed Democracy -- a student organization that has been lobbying Pitt to affiliate with the WRC -- has strongly condemned Mr. Khan-Yousufzai's actions, noting he was not a member of AIDPitt.

Mr. Khan-Yousufzai could not be reached for comment.

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Staff writer Molly Born contributed. Alex Zimmerman: a zimmerman@post-gazette.com, or 412-263-3909. On Twitter: @AGZimmerman.


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